This week was all about writing and thank god! I am a writer. I really enjoyed everything I wrote about. I never find it too hard coming up with things to write about anyway. The thing I found the most difficult though was when I completed an assignment that limited my word choice. While I love writing, I don’t like it to challenge me- I use it more as a form of escape. The website limited my word choice to use only the top 1000 most frequent words. Very hard, take a look:
I also completed two other assignments which were a bit easier because I wrote more freely:
The last assignment I completed was a haiku which I talked about being a bit difficult in the assignment post. I had to look up the rules of a haiku (which I googled!)
I commented/ interacted with a few posts:
I also tweeted daily create’s this week, embedded below, and found it a bit difficult to do them daily. On one day the daily create prompt website was not working for me but what I also found was different was that last week completing daily creates was easier for me because I could tweet about things I understood like music and daily experiences. Because I did not grow up in the 80’s I feel like I don’t have a daily experience or as intimate an experience with 80’s culture as someone who lived though it.
Lastly here’s my story analysis I also completed this week!
I thought this was a very interesting read. At first I didn’t understand what “hypertext” was or how it would be important/entertaining. While the writer used the connection of Netflix’s “Black Mirror: Bandersnatch,” it was really helpful to give me an idea about interactive pieces. I personally didn’t watch the piece myself, but I heard about the interactive choice making. I’ve also been familiar with games and other interactive digital experiences that allow you to make choices for an interactive experience. Although, what Szumer mentions is different with “Bandersnatch” is the limited options of choice. Other medias we have seen have not been so widely popular but offer a lot more in terms of choice. I remember from my first Digital Studies class, a student for his final project created an interactive story that had a multitude of options, none that gave you dead-ends or the same outcomes.
It’s interesting to consider what digital storytelling opportunities present themselves when you give the power of creating the story to the reader. When you present them with thousands of choices, each story will look different. This would also change the way we see millennials interact with media in a multitasking sort of way. An interactive media would require more focus from it’s user (this might be seen as a pitfall).
I also watched “Vonnegut on The Shape of Stories“ and was amused. I’ve thought the same before about the types of stories and movies that are most popular. When we consider Romantic Comedies or “Underdog stories” we can see the same patterns of the stories. We find these to be the most popular and when writers are original then they may tend to have a different curve in their storytelling. Whats interesting to consider if when he introduce hypertext or interactive stories to this model, the shape of you typical story is thrown out entirely. The shape of the story instead depends on what the reader picks.
Lastly, I watched “The Machine is Us/ing Us” which talks about how when we link and digital storytell and post online the “machine” is learning from us. It learns our behaviors and tracks analytics. I think they it would be really interesting to complete a study that looks at the behavior and predictability and accuracy of the predictions from a 2010’s computer vs some of the first 90’s computers. I think what we might find is now computers are so much better at predicting behavior of its users.
“Your task for this assignment is to find a picture and write a background or short story for it. It can be a photo you took yourself or found on the internet. This story could be based on a true event if the picture is from your personal collection, or completely made up if you are using a funny picture you found online. “
In reality it was taken on my last family vacation in Montana and is the result of a panorama going work. I chose to write about this picture because it’s one of my favorite pictures and I find it quite funny. I just love the look on my brothers face, I love the setting and I love that the only distorted part about it is my brothers body. I figured it would have a good story to go with it.
Here is the story:
We had been walking all day exploring Glacier National in the mid 60’s air. There was a slight breeze which chilled us further even though it was supposed to be summer. We were more used to the heat. He had been avoiding my questions all day and seemed very off about it. He would explain what he meant by “dismantle.” I kept asking “dismantle how?” to which he would reply “I don’t really know can we just stop talking about it so much it’s not a big deal…” But it bothered me! I was always someone who needed to be in the know. I wanted details, I wanted explanations. I hadn’t gotten any since the accident. Who get’s stuck by lightning and lives to tell the tale? Only him, but he just seemed so different…. and now this “dismantling” that he didn’t care to explain to me. The only details I got were about how it starts which he said includes a change in the air. He said it’s like a chill runs through you but he wouldn’t say much else. I quickly gave up getting more details wasn’t going to happen for me today. So we continued to walk. Once I stopped asking we picked up light conversation to pass the time as we passed through the scenery. We came across a little river with fallen trees that created little bridges across the water. I was focused on skipping rocks when I looked over to him and he was staring at his own arms, the hairs on it standing straight up. He looked nervous and as I looked up to the sky I could see it had gotten dark quickly as if it were about to storm… I looked back over and say him. It was describable other than to explain it as dismantling. his body started to come apart as he looked at me…..
“There thousands of tales and varieties that exist in the world, but sometimes it takes too long to share your favorite one. Take your favorite myth, legend, or folktale, or find a new one, and wrap it up into a haiku. You can either do the myth as a whole, or focus on your favorite interpretation or essence of it. “
For this assignment, I made a haiku about Ferris Bueller to stick with the with the 80’s theme. Here it is…
Today he was “sick” (this was the 4th time this month) One last day off, Ferris
This was harder than I thought to make. I love writing poems but haikus are a little bit more difficult with the rules. I first had to look up the rules of the haiku and remember that the first line has 5 syllables, the second has 7, and the last has 5 as well.
There was a LOT that happened in Ferris Bueller’s day off but I realized I wasn’t going to be able to put all of the details in such a short poem like a haiku! I thought about picking one detail, specifically about the Ferrari. I realized that while that was a great detail the problem was that it maybe was not general enough for the Haiku to be recognizable. So I just used the most iconic parts of the movie: the fact that Ferris had called out of school many times before, the fact that he called out to skip and take a day off, and that it was his last to take off before graduation.
I only needed my head as a tool to think of this haiku!
“Choose an emotion (happy, sad, excited, hyper, sleepy, suprised, inspired, ect..) and then choose three songs that elect that emotion. Name emotion, the song, and why it makes you feel that way. This can be done in three separate tweets to allow for character count. Have fun with this!”
I listen to a lot of music all the time and it was not hard at all fo me to pick the songs I wanted to evaluate. But, what I had to consider was if I wanted to evaluate them considering “saddness” as the emotion. I think they’re sad songs! But what does sad mean. Sad is so vague and can incorporate so many emotions within it. “Longing” is different. It’s more specific and it’s hard to explain, but its something you can really feel in the songs. I added lyrics into the thread for examples of where I thought you could hear the songs the most.
Take a listen and you’ll feel it!
For this assignment I did need to use Twitter as a tool so I needed internet access and Twitter access. I also looked up the lyrics for each song using Lyric Genius. I used my own Spotify account to listen to the songs which I’ve embedded below.
“Pick a topic that you can write about. It can be anything: a short bio, a description of a job you do, a short story about something that happened to you. Then go to http://splasho.com/upgoer5/ and use the editor to write/re-write your text only using the top most common 1000 words. The editor will tell you when you violate the rules. “
For this assignment I had to use a website tthat would only let me write a short blurb using the 1000 most common english words. It was HARD! I wanted to write it in as a girl in the 80’s getting ready for prom. I soon realized it wasn’t going to let me use names. So, when I wanted to say that “I stared at my Ralph Macchio poster in bed” not only could I not use “Ralph Macchio” but I realized I couldn’t use “poster” either. This was surprising because poster seems like a common word but I guess it’s not common enough!
It was also hard because I wanted to talk about pink braces and perms and glittery makeup, all of which were out of the question. I couldn’t mention a polaroid camera or a green bean casserole. My story immediately became very uninteresting!
Without the details I wanted to include, it also took the context of when it was written or what year I was writing about out of it. I couldn’t even use the word Prom!
I have wanted a ton of movies from the 80’s or that have an 80’s feeling to it where a girl is getting ready for prom. It always seemed so fun to me and it seemed so glorious in the movie. I waned to write in away that would portray that same glory and nerves and excitement about getting ready for a school dance that I think is not seen anymore today.
For my tools I only used my laptop and the website provided in the assignment description above. Below is my very short uninteresting blurb using only the 1000 most common words:
I got off the house phone with her at 4 in the afternoon and laid on my bed staring up. I had no idea what I was going to do for my hair or my make up and I was supposed to be ready by 8. My date would be here then and I knew my parents wanted to get the pictures which would take up so much time (and probably make us late to the dance). Mom wanted my date to come over for dinner before he came to pick me up but I was so nervous I didn’t even want to eat. I got up and turned on some music and laid out my dress. I was going to have a fun night and I just needed to calm down. What was the worst that could happen at the dance anyway?
“People often forget about how beautiful the world is, the way the treese blow in the wind, how flowers bloom in the spring and how amazing the grass feels on our feet. We come from a generation where the only beauty we actually see is over an electronic. Go outside every once in a while, smell the fresh hair and the flowers, lay down on a blanket in the grass and look up at the sky and see how the clouds look, We dont really live in a bad world, you are just blinded by what you see. Show me what you see.”
For this assignment I took to the outdoors. Not too far from home though, I sat on my back porch 🙂
I love writing and so I just let this flow naturally and observed and wrote what I saw and felt around me. For this I didn’t need any special tools, just my head and heart. The original assignment can be found here and below is what I wrote…
The painters that worked on the apartment painted the porch french doors while they were closed. Because of that, my apartment doors stick and need a little push to open them. Usually I turn the handle right, lean in, and knee it. With a little force the right door unsticks and opens outwards to the small cement porch. On the porch we have two chairs stacked in the left corner. We've stacked them because we really don't have that much space in this little rectangle and trying to fit four steel chairs out around one small round table makes things very cramped. I put my notebook down on the steel table that had little diamond shape holes in it, and positioned the porch chair cushion where I was going to sit. The chair caught on the rope rug we have beneath the table and I had to reposition it and lift it to set it back down comfortably. By the time I sat down I took a moment to observe my surroundings. There is a large tree out within the grassy space between our building and the communal pool, which was now covered and closed, and I peered up to look at the top of it. The leave rustled as the wind blew through it. We had stormy weather pass through so the air had finally cooled off that day and the heat spell that we were all so used to finally broke.The weather was comfortable. The type of weather that you didn't feel sticky in after sitting for a period of time. If I moved, the back of my knees nor the insides of my elbows made any sweat droplets, and when I pulled my hair back the underneath of my ponytail wasn't warm. This type of weather makes it feel as if the Earth is just taking a break and put itself in neutral. I looked back up to the tree where a new rustling sound was heard unlike the one made by the wind. Three birds all flocked to the same branch and were interacting in what seemed like a very intense conversation. Lots of head bobbing, some tweeting, some wing flapping (but not enough to fly away). The conversation seemed meaningful. I continued to look around and noticed a tiny bug balancing on a part of the table around one of the small diamonds. The table is small but I've already moved two of my plants off of it since the last rain storm. They're both succulent type plants that don't need much water, but since the storm was unexpected, they were drenched the morning after it passed. I moved them on the the concrete further under the cover of the porch above us so that they were still outside but covered from the rain. The bug on the table didn't seem to be going anywhere in particular. I just continued to watch it chose to go left or right and wander around. I questioned how it even got up here to this second floor porch from the ground. Did it climb the building? Did it climb the tree? Or had the wind brought it up here? Would it remain here? Or would it somehow find it's way down? While I was lost in thought the bug walked out of my sight line. It was too small, I could not find it again. I decided to pick up my pen, and begin to write.
This week was full of work as we got into the first real assignments of the semester. I had a lot of fun creating them BUT at first I messed up. I completed 3 assignments from one section “Visual Assignments” instead of one from 3 different sections. OOPS. Well, after a little extra work, you live and learn.
Some were easier than others… particularly my “How short is too short?” written assignment. For this I was able just to use my writing skills and imagination. This was more of a creative activity because I needed to figure out what I wanted to say and who I wanted to feature. I remembered an event that was small yet comforting for me and chose to write about that. I find that it’s easiest to write from the heart as if you are the only one in your audience.
The tweet to accompany it came naturally. I used some colloquial twitter patters such as “2” instead of “too” or “to” and then used the #asktwitter at the end which is a popular hashtag on twitter where users ask the general twitter population an opinion about a certain thing.
For my visual assignment, I completed a movie barcode. I found the movie barcode to be the most fun because I focused on Bladerunner 2049, the sequel to the 80’s Bladerunner 2019; my favorite movie. The colors from the movie are my favorite and so the movie barcode really gave me the opportunity to isolate them.
“Create a voice mail message for a character in a film or tv show. Use samples, impressions, and/or music to create your message. “
Some of the most iconic slang comes from the 80’s movie Heathers. Starring Winona Ryder as Veronica, the cult classic movie tells the story of a group of popular high schoolers and the trouble (and murder) they get into over boys, gossip, and popularity. This movie has all the 80’s classic styles including poofed hair and shoulder pads.
I was inspired particularly though by the slang and wanted to make a narrative where I could use the slang. Here in my voicemail message, I speak as one of the “Heathers” and leave Veronica a message stating that I’m curious as to why she wasn’t in History class and that J.D. (another movie character) looked out of it. I mentioned that the class was boring without her and asked why she wasn’t there. The movie itself makes a lot of jokes about serious mental health and physical health issues including suicide and bulimia. I included that I would “slit my wrists” if she didn’t call me back and make it interesting and that if she was missing class because she was bulimic again then she better tell me so that she doesn’t look skinnier than me at prom (basically to say that I would lose weight too if she is).
I tried to give it a “valley-girl-air-head” feeling by drawing out my words. I was able just to draft what I wanted to say on paper before recording my voice on the iPhone microphone. I then uploaded that recording to Soundcloud. You can see the original assignment here, and my rendition here:
“First, go to your blog and tell us a story. Any story. Fact or fiction. Make it as long as it needs to be to tell it well. Then, go to Twitter and retell your story, distilling it down into a single tweet. Embed your tweet at the end of the original blog post. “
For this “Tweet it/ Tell it” assignment I’ve written a very short story that is personal and true. I went to a coffee shop one day with my boyfriend and had a wonderful time escaping the cold weather with him. I love to write and write in a personal journal frequently so when I though of something to write about I thought about the day we spent in the coffee shop and let the rest flow! The only tools I needed to type up this short story were my thoughts and fingers.
The cold reminds me of a weekday last winter, we didn't want to spend another day cooped up in the house but the air was too chilling to spend much time outside. As a happy medium Kullen and I gathered our coats and the books we were reading at the time and journeyed to Georgetown to sit in a warm coffee shop for the afternoon. We arrived and found a nook to nestle in, out of the path of the cool air that circled in each time the front door opened. We ordered drinks and when I stood waiting for them I admired the metal of the espresso that bent each image before it. That day we sat and read in silence, enjoying the company of each other and shared glances. I finished Colin McCan's "Let the Great World Spin" and I recommend it to anyone looking to gain a bit of perspective.
After, I adapted it to a tweet, which was also not difficult, except for it took me a while to upload it because my wifi was not working!
Lesson to learn here that sometimes just writing something by hand is the most relaxing way to express yourself without having to deal with wifi and connection. But Twitter CAN reach a larger audience… give and take.